Villa Fénelon, also called Villa de la Californie ou Villa Picasso, then Pavillon de Flore

In 1920, the Villa Fénelon, better known as Villa de la Californie, is edified on a plot offered to Alexandra as a wedding gift by her father, Eugene Tripet, consul of France in Moscow and a Cannes VIP. The backer is the viscount of Salignac-Fénelon, husband of Alexandra. The villa, designed in 1903 by the architect H. Piquart from Epernay as a winter residence for the couple, is constructed only after the war, under the direction of Louis Hourlier, architect in Cannes. Representative of the eclectic style of the end of the 19th century, fitted with large curved bays, the building is remarkable for its rich ornamentation of facade achieved by the sculptor Vidal, and for its enameled roof green tiles.

The villa and its cactus garden charm Pablo Picasso, who was looking for a new place for his studio in Cannes.  In 1955, he buys it and settles there with Jacqueline Roque, his new companion. In 1961, the construction of a residential building hiding the sea view forces him to relocate his studio. They abandon the Villa de la Californie, with all its content, when he takes possession this same year of the Mas de Notre Dame de Vie in Mougins. It is in this last place that Picasso dies in April 1973. He is buried in Vauvenargues, another property, close to Aix-en-Provence, acquired in 1958.

It has taken three years to make out the inventory and apprise the considerable number of works left by the artist in his various residences. In the Villa de la Californie, an actual treasure is discovered, including numerous pieces of African art, a mass of drawings, paintings and sculptures, mostly unknown, created in this studio-villa and "forgotten" by the painter. Part of this inventory is used as a gift law to the French State, which will allow the creation of Picasso Museum in Paris. An exhibition of photos of the artist, taken in this studio-villa by Edouard Quinn and Lucien Clergue, has taken place in Cannes.

Marina, granddaughter of the painter, inherits the villa in 1980 and carries out an important renovation. She names it Pavilion de Flore. There, the memory of Picasso is omnipresent.


A beautiful villa of eclectic style, a famous painter and a hidden treasure